Across nine pages the Mail on Sunday tells the story of John Prescott’s ‘Abuse of Office’. We learn that Mr Prescott has had at least one other affair but Tracey Temple’s revelations are likely to be most damaging:
- Ms Temple tells how she was ferried about by the taxpayer-funded Government Car Service during the small hours of the morning.
- She tells how they had sex in Mr Prescott’s Admiralty House flat (the one for which he famously neglected to pay his council tax) after the Iraq War Memorial Service.
- On one occasion the two lovers enjoyed sex in a hotel whilst Mrs Prescott waited downstairs for her husband to join her for dinner.
Questioning Mr Prescott’s honesty, Ms Temple suggests that the affair ended much more recently than claimed by John Prescott. The Mail on Sunday links Mr Prescott’s energetic pursuit of Ms Temple during and after office hours to his shambolic ministerial record. In a leader it reflects on the "dismal picture" of New Labour painted by Ms Temple’s diary:
"A powerful Government department and its staff on a seemingly endless round of parties and dinners, their heads ringing with hangovers as they superintend plans to concrete over the country, destroy local democracy and slice England into alien Euro-regions. If this is the standard of behaviour in the private offices of New Labour potentates, no wonder the Home Office cannot find its lost prisoners. It is amazing anything gets done at all."
The Mail on Sunday – frequently given to hyperbole – is surely right. It is this combination of personal sleaze and government ineffectiveness that deserves to be written on this Labour government’s grave.
45% of respondents to the Mail on Sunday’s BPIX poll (main results here) say that John Prescott should resign. 48% of voters told YouGov/ Sunday Times that Tony Blair should sack him. Back to BPIX, half of voters think Mrs Prescott should dump her husband. Only one-in-ten think the Deputy PM deserves a second chance.
The Mail on Sunday lists aspects of the Prescott affair and BPIX asked voters which concerned them most. Interestingly – at 58% – Mr Prescott’s betrayal of his wife caused greatest offence. Voters seem to be more in tune with ConservativeHome’s belief that private vices are of (limited) public interest.
Max Clifford, who arranged the £100,000+ sale of Ms Temple’s story to the Mail on Sunday, has hinted that there may be more to come with Mr Prescott’s lover possibly negotiating TV or magazine deals. This saga is not over.